Posts tagged down

Google Shuts Down OrderAhead Local Restaurant Listings Hijackings

Seattle based GeekWire has written several articles about OrderAhead‘s fake restaurant listings SEO strategy, which has been turned back by Google. The company used dubious or unethical tactics to gain SEO advantage, creating fake restaurant sites and claiming Google+ pages to outrank and…

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Google Doubles Down On Deep Links For App Discovery

Google is finally getting deep into deep links. Starting this week, the search giant will add mobile-app links to its search results on Android phones. Specifically, the results will prompt Android users to install relevant apps that contain information related to their queries.

It’s a major step for Google, which has long faced a business quandary on mobile. Its primary advertising business is desktop-based and hasn’t translated readily to smaller smartphone and tablet screens. Meanwhile, its search engine—also based on the open Web—has offered limited visibility into information locked away inside mobile apps.

See also: Google Has New Targeted Ads That Encourage You To Dive Into Apps

The search-result changes are Google’s latest push to build out a mobile Web of “deep links” that take users to pages within apps, whether or not they’re currently installed. They turns Google into an app discovery index, one that highlights content deep inside an app and might in turn inspire users to download it.

This could obviously benefits for anyone using Google search, as it can turn up app-based information you might otherwise have missed in a Web-only search. (It might also irritate some users by cluttering their results with app-install prompts.)

Developers, Index Your Apps

But it’s much more a play for the hearts and minds of app developers. App-install links in Google search results could offer a huge incentive for developers to use Google’s technology, which it calls App Indexing, to create those deep links to pages, photos, videos and other information inside their apps. 

See also: Google Search Extends Deep Into Apps With Android 4.4 KitKat

(Just in case you didn’t get the picture, Google’s blog post on the subject is titled, “Drive app installs through App indexing.”)

App Indexing has been part of Android for more than a year, and already helps point users to relevant apps. For example, if you’re looking for a movie review and already have the Flixster app installed, the search result would present you a deep link to the app. But it wouldn’t work if you didn’t already have the app installed on your phone.

Now Google will highlight apps in search results whether or not the apps are installed, and then prompt you to install if not. The feature will include all apps whose developers have registered them in Google’s App Indexing program, which currently contains more than 30 billion deep links.

Lead photo by Roy Luck; animated GIF via Google

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Google to Shut Down Classic Google Maps, Will Introduce New Lite Version by @mattsouthern

Google has announced it will be shutting down the classic version of Google Maps. As a result, it will be replaced by a faster, ‘lite’ version. Many users won’t even notice the change, as the classic version of Google Maps has not been used on modern browsers since February 2014. If you’re using an older browser, or had specifically bookmarked the classic version of Maps, you’re about to get an update. You will either automatically be updated to the current version, or be introduced to the new Lite Mode. As Google describes, the current version of Maps has many advantages […]

The post Google to Shut Down Classic Google Maps, Will Introduce New Lite Version by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Neptune Doubles Down On Dumb Screens Run By Smart Watches

The world is still figuring out why we need smartwatches in the first place, especially given that they aren’t much more than secretaries for our smartphones. But one tech company in Canada is pushing forward with an ambitious plan to make your wearable the center of your computing life.

See also: Smartwatch Innovation Runs Riot: Meet The Freaky-Fridayish Neptune Duo

With its latest announcement of the Neptune Suite, Quebec-based tech company Neptune promises that you’ll be able to control an army of screens right from your wrist. (Pretty much as ReadWrite noted last month.)

Pretty Suite: The Tab, Keys, Dongle, And Headset

In January, Neptune revealed the Duo, which paired a smartwatch and a dumbphone—the Hub and the Pocket Screen—into one unique, if odd, package. When I spoke with Neptune CEO Simon Tian, he revealed that the Duo was only the first part of the company’s larger vision:

Any screen can become yours as soon as you start using it. The Pocket Screen is the first of many other screens that will come very soon.

He wasn’t kidding about the “very soon.” Neptune’s Suite includes not just the Duo, but a 10-inch “Tab Screen,” a wireless keyboard, an HDMI streaming dongle and a set of wireless headphones.

The Neptune Dongle is a Chromecast for your wrist.

“The Duo was always only meant to be a soft launch for the Suite,” Tian explained via email. “It was never in our plans to ship the Duo first then unveil the Suite.”

The Neptune Keys

The new configuration of devices takes the concept of the Duo to the next level—and maybe a few levels beyond that. Like the 5-inch Pocket, the 10-inch Tab Screen is outfitted with a camera, and connects to the Hub via the so-new-it-may-still-bleed WiGig wireless standard rather than Bluetooth LE, a choice intended to yield ultra-fast responsiveness.

And again, the Tab sports a 7000 mAh battery, which Neptune envisions as a backup battery for the Hub should it get low on power. (Albeit one you have to plug into your wristband.) The new twist with the Tab is the addition of Neptune Keys, which connects to the Tab via Bluetooth and can hold the Tab in place to simulate a “full laptop experience.”

The Keys holds the Tab Screen in place to simulate a “laptop experience.”

It might be better described as a “full Chromebook experience,” however, since the brains of the operation, the Hub, runs Android Lollipop. Moreover, users will be restricted in terms of storage capacity and performance. With no internal storage of its own, the Tab and Keys is a laptop in looks only.

The Neptune Dongle will allow users to sling their Hubs to the screens that populate the rest of the world. Like a Chromecast, the Dongle plugs into an HDMI port on a computer monitor or television, which Neptune says will provide “a full desktop or smart TV experience.” The Neptune Headset, meanwhile, is a pair of Bluetooth earbuds that can act as a charging cable to siphon juice from the Pocket or Hub should the Hub run low on power.

When not charging the Hub with the Pocket Screen’s battery power, the Neptune Headset actually charges your ears with sound.

Indiegogo Comes Calling

According to the company, Indiegogo was impressed with the 7,000 reservations Neptune had received for the Duo, not to mention the $750,000 in liquid cash they’d raised without the benefit of a crowdfunding site. So it offered to launch the Suite, Neptune says.

As of this writing, the Suite campaign boasts $841,525 in pledged funds, which is comprised of the money raised during the Duo’s independent campaign, and whatever has been raised via Indiegogo. Backers who pre-ordered the Duo will still receive the Hub and Pocket before the end of the year, but will also receive the entire Suite when that ships in February.

With a little under a month to go in the campaign, there’s plenty of time for Neptune to raise more funds for the Suite. However, as of now, it’s still something of a mystery as to how well any of the Suite’s devices will actually work.

It’s exciting to know that Neptune is forging ahead with its bold vision for the Hub and its companion screens. But it’s also entirely possible that by promising the full Suite before it’s even released the already ambitious Duo, Neptune might be biting off more than it can chew.

Images via Neptune

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Report: Yahoo Search Share Up After Firefox Deal, Google Down

According to new data from StatCounter, Yahoo has seen a nearly 2 point search market share gain in the US in the past month. Attributing it to the recent Yahoo-Firefox default search deal, StatCounter reported that Yahoo had a share of 10.4 percent vs. 8.6 percent a year ago. Google had a December…

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Yahoo Search Back Online After 4+ Hour Outage; Bing Went Down Earlier Friday

Outage seems to have hit around 2:30 pm ET.

The post Yahoo Search Back Online After 4+ Hour Outage; Bing Went Down Earlier Friday appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Doubling Down On Audience-Centric Marketing

After a banner year for audience marketing, it’s a great time to revisit the concepts I touched on earlier this year and explore some thoughts on what’s further driving audience marketing trends as we move into 2015. There are some major, exciting changes happening in the digital marketing space:…

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“The Interview”: $18 Million Down, $82 Million To Go

The Interview earned more than $15 million in online sales and $3 million through 300 independent movie theater box offices the holiday weekend, Sony announced on Sunday. The combined earnings make up approximately only 18 percent of the controversial comedy’s $100 million production costs (including marketing). Yet what would count as an unmitigated opening weekend failure for any other Hollywood production is a watershed moment in movie distribution. What’s more, the story surrounding this arguably mediocre comedy continues to be the far more interesting one, rich with irony, filled with surprise twists, and not over yet. 

As ReadWrite’s Adriana Lee noted last week, The Interview won’t so much be remembered for James Franco and Seth Rogen’s portrayal of two bumblers tasked with assassinating North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un, but for the way the movie changed the way Hollywood distributes new films. Mainstream movie theaters, already losing revenue to home viewing, may have hastened their demise by refusing to show The Interview following threats of violence. 

Now that the movie audience has a taste for streaming a mainstream Hollywood premiere on YouTube, Google Play, Xbox Video, and a Stripe-affiliated site called, and now iTunes, the demand will grow. Streaming The Interview is $5.99 to rent; $14.99 to buy; far less than even a matinee screening for two. For those who enjoy a movie theater experience, approximately 300 independent U.S. movie theaters premiered The Interview, too. 

iTunes, A Little Tardy, Arrives At The Party

Apple’s sudden change of heart is a strong indication that at-home premiere screening is an inevitability. Last week, the tech giant demured from jumping on The Interview-streaming bandwagon, now it’s on board. Clearly, the company helped change the music industry via streaming doesn’t want to miss out on the future. As with all economies, a black market has emerged; The Interview has been downloaded illegally two million times, TorrentFreak reports

Piracy happens. But whether streaming movie premieres are a sustainable model doesn’t depend on The Interview’s ability to recoup its cost, but its ability to earn enough money to make the whole effort worthwhile. Future premieres likely won’t have to deal with the incalculable costs wrought by the hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, the perpetrators of which claim The Interview as their motive. 

The True Story Is Better Than The Movie

The historically devastating corporate cyberattack leaked a mountain of embarrassing and business-related Sony emails and documents on the Internet. The U.S. government believes North Korea is behind the attack, a belief bolstered by President Barack Obama. Security experts, however, have expressed doubts. Meanwhile, North Korea denies connection to the Sony hack, and on Saturday blamed the U.S. on Saturday for its recent 9 1/2-hour Internet outage

“The U.S., a big country, started disturbing the Internet operation of major media of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), not knowing shame like children playing a tag,” read a statement from North Korea’s National Defense Commission. Threatening nonspecific retaliation, the statement goes on to insult the U.S. president specifically. “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.”

Yeah, this story isn’t ending anytime soon

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Getting Down To Business: Our Top 10 B2B Search Marketing Columns For 2014

Business-to-business (B2B) search marketers are in a challenging position. New search features are often geared towards the business-to-consumer (B2C) sector, and much of the literature on best practices and cutting edge search strategies tends to be B2C focused as well. Luckily, a number…

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Hackers Take Down Another Media Target

On Wednesday, hackers claiming to be affiliated with the Syrian Electronic Army may have penetrated the website of the International Business Times, an online business-news publication.

“It does indeed appear that we have been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army,” said IB Times editor-in-chief Peter Goodman in an email. “Our IT people are evaluating. We are taking appropriate security measures.”

The hackers, who support the regime of Syrian president Bashar Assad, appear to have deleted a story about Syria’s shrinking army. While it still appears in Google News, the link to the article returns a 404 “page not found” error on the IB Times website. 

Google News still shows the deleted story.

If the goal was to suppress the article, the hackers weren’t completely successful: A version of the article was published with a new URL.

The International Business Times is owned by New York-based IBT Media, which also publishes Newsweek.

Another article with the headline “Hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army” now appears on the website. The article contains a screenshot which appears to be the site’s content-management system. Goodman’s username appears in the screenshot, along with a notification which indicates the article about Syria’s army was successfully deleted.

In the article, hackers threatened to delete the entire IB Times website.

The IB Times Twitter account acknowledged the incident in a tweet:

Spear-Phishing The Media

In an email to staff earlier Wednesday, IB Times managing editor Mark Bonner warned staff not to open any emails that appeared to come from IBT Media cofounder and chief content officer Johnathan Davis. Those emails included a link to a suspicious website, according to a source familiar with the incident.

Goodman said it was “unclear at this point, but possible” that his account had been penetrated. An attack like this targeting high-level individuals to obtain their login credentials is known as “spear phishing.”

Later on Wednesday, Bonner told staffers that the IB Times content-management system was down and that writers should submit articles to editors via Google Docs. A source confirmed that the screenshot of the IB Times content-management system posted in the “Hacked” article appeared to be authentic.

The IB Times hack comes on the heels of the large-scale hack of Sony Pictures, apparently conducted by hackers who objected to the studio’s release of The Interview, a movie about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Sony has cancelled the movie’s release amid threats of terrorist attacks on theaters which screen it.

In 2009, Gawker Media, the publisher of Gizmodo, Jezebel, and other websites, experienced a distributed denial-of-service attack aimed at rendering its sites inaccessible. And for four months beginning in late 2012, hackers in China attacked the computer systems of the New York Times, attempting to gain access to email and files

Together, these incidents suggest we’re entering an ugly world where people who object to a movie or a news article on political grounds won’t just leave nasty comments or tweet harsh criticisms. They’ll seek to eliminate their targets’ ability to publish.

Photo by Shutterstock; screenshots via IB Times

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